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The Delicate Fawn

I recently watched this video that described a complex PTSD response called “fawning”. It is a response that forces a person being faced with confrontation swallow their emotions and to be passive, doing everything in their power to please their aggressor in an effort to lessen the impact or trauma. I am just now realizing, for the very first time, that there is a name for the feeling that I’ve often felt when faced with instances of real or imagined confrontation. That feeling that causes my mind to revert back to a place of wounded nostalgia, employing my oldest survival tactic in effort to avoid blowing a flame into a wildfire.

I fawn.

This is the steel trap that had held my voice victim all of this years. This is why I so swallow my pain and uncomfortably. This is why I’ve always ‘gone along to get along’.

This is a toxic pattern that I learned from many years of mental, emotional and physical abuse by the hands of a relative. I have been thrown across the room, crashing into a closet door and breaking it off of the hinges. I have been punched in the back so hard that the echo of my chest cavity rung in my ears. I have been brutally beaten and continuously dared to even appear like I wanted to stand up for myself. My spirit and heart have been broken time and time again by this one person, over many years, in various different ways. She has even tried to infect the rest of the family and my old neighborhood to rally against me by spewing lies about things that I have “said” or “done”. And now, just like the grown elephant who still believes that a stick in the ground can hold it down, when faced with confrontation….I emotionally retreat…and I fawn.

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